Cycling Japan – day 38 – Aizu Wakamatsu to Fukushima

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  • Day 38 – Aizu Wakamatsu to Fukushima
  • Distance: 75.5km
  • Ascent / descent: 1155m / 1169m
  • Weather: Sunny and hot
  • Accommodation: Youth Guest House Atoma, ¥3,030

Talk about amazing hosts! Yesterday when I declined oatmeal for breakfast it was because I can’t have milk (so they made me eggs which was just as fantastic!) Then last night before bed, Veronica showed me a carton of soy milk that she had brought specifically to be able to make oatmeal for me this morning so that we could all eat breakfast together. What a wonderful gesture! So breakfast today was oatmeal, sliced apple, fried eggs and coffee, what a way to start the day! I really was sad to say goodbye but I know we’ll meet again somewhere, sometime.

Leaving Aizu Wakamatsu resulted in quite a few arguments with my bike app Komoot as it tried to make me go off-road yet again, onto what became a dead end, and to make matters worse, it was uphill! ‘You have left the tour, take a look at the map,’ Komoot says all too regularly these days. Grrrrr! You could call it user-error because there is a way to see if Komoot is routing you on any unpaved roads, but I only just realised this! (I also feel like it should have a pop-up warning telling you this with the option to decline.)

Anyway, after I finally reached the top of the hill, I eventually came to Lake Inawashiro with the mandatory animal-themed boats. (Actually, not all Japanese lakes have animal-themed boats, Hakone has pirate ships!)

Interesting boats on Lake Inawashiro

Interesting boats on Lake Inawashiro

I had a great view of Mt Bantai which lasted for most of the day.

Mt Bandai (1816m) in the distance

Mt Bandai (1816m) in the distance

Mt Bandai (1816m) in the distance

Mt Bandai (1816m) in the distance

Even though I’d had a hearty breakfast, my body was still saying no. Probably because yesterday’s rest day resulted in a 75km bike ride up a very big hill! So I stopped at the first cafe I found for an injection of sugar in the form of tiramisu – I know how hypocritical this sounds that I don’t drink milk but that I would order a tiramisu – trust me I regretted the decision as soon as it landed on the table and was a cup of cream with a very very thin layer of sponge on the bottom. At home if I ordered this with Howard, he would eat all the cream and I would eat just the sponge…

Morning tea of coffee and tiramisu at the cool Cafe Oyaji in Inawashiro

Morning tea of coffee and tiramisu at the cool Cafe Oyaji in Inawashiro

More views of Mt Bandai

More views of Mt Bandai

The last town I would see for a while as I headed into the mountains

The last town I would see for a while as I headed into the mountains

It was a long, hard climb that really seemed like it was never-ending. Route 115 was busy with trucks and a tiny shoulder that I was trying to keep out of because the paving was so uneven. However at one point a large truck passed and I was forced into the shoulder quite suddenly and very nearly ran over a snake. I shrieked, as one would, lifted up my legs as much as I could with a very close passing truck and after a few metres, I looked behind to make sure that I hadn’t run over it… and also that it hadn’t hitched a ride on the back of my bike. Thankfully I saw it slither away but that was the last time I entered the shoulder on that road! Up, up, up. I started to think I would be camping on the top of the mountain surrounded by snow because progress was so slow!

Up to 1010m and still climbing

Up to 1010m and still climbing

I got to the point where I was no longer allowed to continue along the highway but had to turn off and take the old road. This was great as it meant no more trucks, actually no traffic at all and it was very peaceful.

This sign says I have to take the old highway

This sign says I have to take the old highway

Last view of Mt Bandai

Last view of Mt Bandai

There's still snow up here!

There’s still snow up here!

When I reached the top, there was still snow lingering and the temperature had dropped dramatically. Storm clouds also started to gather so I wasted no time and started the descent straight away.

Just after starting the descent I passed these natural hot springs with the smell of sulphur hanging in the air

Just after starting the descent I passed these natural hot springs with the smell of sulphur hanging in the air

Yep, more snow!

Going down. It's cold up here, get me out of here fast!

Going down. It’s cold up here, get me out of here fast!

Looking down on Fukushima where I'm headed

Looking down on Fukushima where I’m headed

Going down and down and down and downDSCF9728

Going down and down and down and down

The descent lasted for a very long time and finally around 5pm I entered civilisation and passed a 7-Eleven. I connected to wifi to see if there was anywhere nearby to stay and there was a Youth Hostel just a couple of kilometres away (along my route), so I booked it, bought some dinner from the convenience store and made my way there. The Youth Hostel was quite out of the way, as many of them are in my experience in Japan, but that was fine by me and it had a great view of Fukushima in the distance.

My room at Youth Guest House Atoma, Fukushima

My room at Youth Guest House Atoma, Fukushima

Youth Guest House Atoma, Fukushima

Youth Guest House Atoma, Fukushima

Jb38 - map from Google Earth

Jb38 – map from Google Earth

Jb38 - elevation profile from Basecamp

Jb38 – elevation profile from Basecamp

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